American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely and NAIFA-TN President Scott Flowers issued the following joint statement on the best interest annuity rule adopted recently by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance:
“The new rule adopted by Director Carter Lawrence and the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance advances important consumer safeguards and adds to the nationwide push for enhanced protections for annuity consumers.
“Tennessee becomes the 31st state to adopt the ‘best interest of consumer enhancements’ in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation. These new laws and regulations also harmonize with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest. They enhance the standards financial professionals must follow while safeguarding retirement savers’ access to, and information about, annuities, the only financial product in the marketplace that can provide guaranteed income for life.
“Unlike a fiduciary-only approach, these measures ensure that all savers, particularly financially vulnerable middle-income Americans, can get information about different choices for long-term security in retirement. A recent survey finds that middle-income retirement savers would be very concerned about a regulation keeping them from accessing the professional financial guidance they want and need.
“The U.S. Congress reaffirmed the importance of lifetime income when it passed legislation in 2019 and 2022 that made it easier for employers to include annuities in workplace retirement plans. These protections safeguard consumers while also ensuring that middle- and working-class families will retain access to easy-to-understand financial information.
“We hope that other states will follow Tennessee and implement these sensible protections so that more consumers can benefit from a best interest standard of care, no matter where they live.”